The article's main point is that such large companies are a cybersecurity risk, and that the government should regulate/nationalize/globalize payment infrastructure.
Unfortunately, experience tends to show that governments would be far worse at providing secure, low-cost payment services. Also, credit cards already are highly regulated when it comes to consumer protections.
So, this article is just not making a lot of sense to me.
If you're a bank who wants their business customers to receive payment via Mastercard, you are not allowed to give a bank account to or otherwise handle payments for anyone on the MATCH list, otherwise Mastercard will shut off your bank's access to their network completely, probably putting you out of business. There is little transparency about how entities end up on this MATCH list. The article does not propose an exact regulation, but the end goal would be that a single company can't arbitrarily shut people out of most of the financial system.
People laugh about bitcoin, and the implementation surely has its drawbacks, but the idea of a decentralized digital payment system is alluring.
Paper from 2010 showing this: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1652260
News article with a good summary: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-fed-wealthtransfer/cr...
>> ...the lowest-income household ($20,000 or less annually) pays $21 and the highest-income household ($150,000 or more annually) receives $750 every year.
Predatory lending generally refers to companies like payday loan companies and cash advance companies which feed off of forcing people to continuously borrow until they can't borrow any more.
Lending should absolutely be accessible to everyone in some way or another, especially in a world where a transmission failure can lead to a lost job if you can't afford to fix it right away.
It is highly restricted in many places.
Such protections should either be scrapped or extended to cover all methods.
You are free to invent a payment method and provide all these protections to your customers. Why would you want to remove protections that CC companies are providing to their users?
Is being able to read and write an "individual responsibility?" How about the ability to communicate in a language at all? What about any other basic core skill that would make a person capable of learning more things to make them "productive?"
"Individual responsibility" as it pertains to these topics is at best a misnomer, if it even names an existent thing at all.
Surely you don't think it's ok for, say, a Company Town to exist? Can you extrapolate from there why it's not ok for credit card companies to bamboozle less educated Americans for money?
I guess we could look at the general fact that education is one of the better investments to increase a nation's GDP, bit I'm more concerned with the ethics than the money.
I could follow your argument if the card issuers weren’t transparent in their pricing and terms like payday loan companies. However, the interest rates are laid out very clearly several times as you apply and are approved as regulations demand. I’m all for education but at some point you have to let people do what they want with their money.
I'm not sure the country has taken the necessary step up in early education to even have the population have a baseline understanding of what interest rate is. I didn't learn that anywhere in elementary, middle, or high school. I had to figure it out on my own.
I don't think that's acceptable. I think that leaves our population vulnerable to predatory companies, who have a disproportionate ability to lobby the government to allow them to stay predatory.
I envision a capitalist hellscape where the population is kept purposefully reapable.
If you've got great credit, you get a high limit, slightly-less-astronomical rates, and all the rewards.
The cost of the rewards is (as I understand it) mainly carried by the transaction fees, spread out over all purchases everywhere. So you have pointless price increases for people who /don't/ use credit cards (like me) or have poor credit, and the benefits of that 'tax' going to users with good credit (ie, rich people). So, yeah, it's a wealth transfer to people with better credit.
There are relatively few businesses in the world that can rip someone off for a year, then allow them to pay a more reasonable fee in exchange for guaranteed business, and still have the consumer claim that the system “doesn’t feel punitive.” The whole thing is kind of brilliant.
By participating in the cashback scheme you're putting more people through that ordeal by means of higher fees.
The only way to win is not to play.
At that moment in my life, the risk on lending me money was high and therefore the product I could access was limited. There was little incentive for the bank to risk lending me money, so I needed to purchase my way into rebuilding my credit. As the risk in lending me money decreased, banks became incentivized to offer me lines of credit so the cash backs kicked in.
Rebuilding my credit has allowed me to access lower rates on my mortgage , investments loans and other financial tools that have greatly contributed to my quality of life. I would consider that to be the reward.
It's frankly a brilliant scam, and the fact that people don't think it's a scam is its most brilliant aspect.
Visa/Mastercard charge merchants 1-2% interchange fees for each transaction.
I'd guess that people putting $20k a month on their Visa (I know a few that do) are paying for themselves with the interchange fees.
> "Out of the various fees, interest charges are the primary source of revenue." 
Yes, credit cards charge a large transaction fee, but wind up refunding a large portion of that back to the consumer in the form of rewards, so these days that's not the main source of profit.
I still have to pay the higher transaction costs even without a credit card, because the credit card companies require that vendors have the same prices for card or cash, resulting in higher prices for everyone.
You'll see cash discounts at some gas stations, and the occasional small coffee shop or takeout place will have a $10 minimum, but otherwise it's gonna be the same price most places.
Then it's nothing like taxation and it is optional.
The card companies charge merchants for transactions. The merchants raise their prices to cover those transaction costs: For a very long time (and still, in a few places) it was against the card company's terms of service to have a card usage surcharge. A very few places now have 'cash discounts' or don't accept cards at all, but these are by far the exception. As a result, /everyone/ ends up paying for credit card rewards, even those who don't use credit cards.
I'm in Canada. With one exception, no bank client card I have had (which were all usable for debit) had any Visa logo on it. That includes current ones.
The exception is one TD client card.
The situation is explained here:
TD is one of the banks that offer Visa Debit. This TD client card is also Interac-branded, so I'm guessing that the card will use the Interac network for domestic transactions, and in that case its Visa Debit personality does not come into play.
Those are not the only two networks for debit/ATM in Canada. There is also "The Exchange":
(used by a lot of smaller banks and credit unions).
The Canadian Credit Union Association also runs an ATM network called AccuLink.
It's important to know which network your card uses if you want "ding free" transactions. E.g a "The Exchange" card can be used at an "Interac" ATM, but there will be a fee.
Even if they aren't extending credit they're still facilitating the transaction - it's not like the visa sticker is on there for marketing purposes
There's plenty of cases in technology where "but we don't do anything with your data!" is not a good enough excuse. Many of us still argue for decentralization or federation or user controlled data, etc. Similar concerns I have for visa.
It's a plastic card, it is issued by your bank, it's still using the visa/mastercard network, but instead of credit, it is tied to actual funds in your bank account.
Tell that to the increasing number of shops that no longer accept cash.
Definitely not the case here in the UK, credit cards are very common.
Credit card fees and rebates are such an amazing example of how systems can fool human beings. The entire system clearly could not exist in a frictionless, well-functioning marketplace —- but people seem hard pressed to actually figure out how the whole thing works. It’s kind of brilliant.
Well.. you're paying a 2-5% higher price, but the merchant gets to keep all of that; it's not as if they have to also pay that fraction into their transaction processor.
> I suppose a well-functioning competitive market
You ever see retailers that offer a discount card? Like, spend $50 here get $10 off in the future? Typically they'll only offer those for cash transactions. This is why.
You are also ignoring the cost of cash. Theft and cash handling isn’t a zero cost. Why should I, as a credit card user, be forced to subsidize losses due to cash handling? We could also talk shoplifting as well; policies that don’t punish shoplifters means I get to subsidize that as well. We could go on and on and ultimately it gets absurd. If you don’t like the price, go somewhere else and the market can sort it out.
How about the store gets to decide what to charge?
Most stores seem to believe that credit cards are more expensive, which is why they try to offer discounts for cash.
So the facts do not back you up.
Then shops will have two prices cash price and credit card price. Then people will use cash more, and the government will lose some of the information they get from reading everyone's credit card transactions.
Do you think this affects the government's decision? Or are politicians simply bribed by visa/mastercard?
Obviously not everyone does it, but it's certainly not uncommon.
On the other hand, there are also a lot of costs associated with handling cash. The expense of tracking bills and coins and going to the bank every day is not insignificant. So it's pretty easy to argue that there's no reason for cash discounts either, because handling cash can actually be more expensive than handling cards, particularly when you're doing it for only 5 or 10 percent of customers.
The CC companies are only taking 2.5%-3.2%. If they're offering a 5% discount for cash - it's almost certainly tax evasion.
So if you buy a $2 Coke, it's not a $0.054 fee (2.7%), it's $0.354 (or a whopping 17.7%).
Maybe my dentist evades a few taxes, I dunno. But people buy cheap things at the bodega, so it probably is closer to the actual fees.
If it says debit on the front of the card, it is debit.
I’ve never seen this work in person, but some people claim their debit card worked as a credit card and whatnot. Even if that is true, all merchant systems I’ve worked with allow the merchant/cardholder to select debit or restrict transactions to only debit.
This isn't the full picture. Debit card transactions might only be a few cents. But you still have to pay a fixed cost for the machine and related bits. For some businesses, that cost might be too high to justify.
Also, India came up with RUPAY which is a great answer to VISA/MasterCard monopoly. But somehow it didn't catch up in usage I think.
No one cares about numbers like that. That's way, way below the convenience threshold for a typical consumer. Most of us, me included, would rather pay an extra 3.5% than fiddle with deciding on which card to use.
Which is to say: the market has spoken. We've settled on the duopoly not because it's a trap but because it actually maximizes utility. The uniform convenience of "credit cards just work" has quantifiable economic value. And it turns out to be somewhere around 2-5% of the transaction.
Which leads me to believe that it's generally worth it for businesses, despite the "fees".
"Visa holds a 60% share of the credit and debit card market, followed by Mastercard with 30%, according to Ellis, with American Express far behind at 8.5%."
That puts Discover + AmEx at 10% or so.
In reality an intermediary called “payment processor” handle all CC brands in single system and they are the ones enforcing ideological punishments to merchants.
Like there’s web search and web browser, card networks and payment processors both should be brought up.
Yes, payment processors enforce the rules, but don't typically make the rules.
As I am sure you can imagine, this can result in plausible-deniability-type finger pointing ("we don't make the rules" / "we're not responsible for the rules being misapplied") when an organization is cut off.
Interestingly, even now that many merchants are allowed to offer a discount for using cash, most don't because they've likely figured out (a) if they lose just 1 sale in 30 it's likely a net negative for them, plus (b) people are likely to spend more, especially on impulse purchases, when using a card, and (c) there is just a sense that it can be annoying to customers to have to pay more for using a card, taking away from customer goodwill.
I imagine it's because of lack of enforcement?
So, I still favor the discover (despite now being part of Morgan Stanly?) for most purchases, but when its rejected I fall back on a MC with a cashback program.
That program pays for my computer hardware...